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Wild Animals/Wild animal poop that dog eats whenever outside


My dog keeps eating the poop some animal is leaving in our backyard. We now can't let her out there by herself as it's disgusting and we're afraid she'll get sick! There is a lot of it, although somewhat disguised by the winter grass. Was also on top of the snow when there was snow covering our lawn. Am attaching a photo of a couple of pellets. We do have occasional deer in the woods behind our house but I have never seen them come so close to the house where the pellets are. We also have a woodchuck that lives in a hole next to the kids' play set which I know are very hard to get rid of. Never see it during the winter so I assumed it was hibernating. Maybe not? Are these poops typical of a woodchuck (or another kind of marmite)? Please advise as her vet clearly told us she needs to go out on a leash when those potentially diseased pellets are there that she finds so appetizing!

Dear Karen

Thank you for your question. The pellets appear to be circular, quite flattened and ful of vegetation. Please confirm this and let me have the diameter of the pellets and I'll try and work out which animal could have made them.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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